A downgrade of the credit ratings of a number of European governments by Standard & Poor’s is said to be imminent, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing two anonymous sources. S&P could announce the ratings cuts as soon as Friday, an unidentified government official told the newspaper. The credit rating agency, which ripped the U.S. of its longstanding AAA rating last summer, had placed 15 euro-zone countries on negative credit watch in December. News of the impending downgrade rattled the markets, with the euro diving to a new low against the U.S. dollar.
Update: Later on Friday, Standard and Poor’s notified the French government that the country’s credit rating would be downgraded one notch, from AAA to AA+, a senior French government official told the Wall Street Journal.